Help patients create a personal ‘biohacking guide’ via nutrition, supplements, nootropics, proper sleep and more
The quest for extending life has been a part of many mythologies. Perhaps the best known is the fabled Fountain of Youth, which supposedly restored a youthful appearance to anyone who drank from it or bathed in its waters.
While the Fountain of Youth is just a myth, that does not mean that we cannot achieve the same benefits it promised. Modern science has shown how we can slow the aging process, through a process known as “biohacking.” What is involved in biohacking, and what are some of the ways we can create a biohacking guide to achieve a more youthful appearance and live longer?
Your biohacking guide to optimize the body’s abilities
Before we get into how you can biohack your lifestyle, we first need to define the term biohacking. In essence, it involves using a combination of cutting-edge technologies, and traditional nutrition and supplemental medicine to help you optimize your body’s own natural abilities to elongate your life.1 The idea is to first gather data on the current physical and mental state of your body and then determine how to optimize your overall wellness.
Examples of ways in which you can gather this data may include undergoing telomere testing to examine the length of the telomeres, or end caps, on your chromosomes. As you age, your telomeres will shorten. Some studies appear to show that improving physical activity may actually reverse this process.1,2
Similarly, you may want to consider undergoing biomarker and genetic testing to get a complete picture of your family propensity for certain diseases such as diabetes, stroke, or kidney disease.1 Cognitive testing may help you determine not only how well your brain functions, but precisely how it does so. This can be invaluable in helping you optimize the best way to cognitively process new ideas and concepts.1
Ways to biohack a life
Ketogenic diet: If you look at the ingredients on most processed food, you may find yourself wondering about their actual nutritional value. The truth is that you might be better off eating closer to our ancestors’ diet, by focusing on fresh vegetables, fruit, and proteins.
This back-to-basics way of thinking about food is a key element to biohacking your diet and is often seen in the ketogenic, or keto diet. Similar to Atkins, the keto diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. This allows your body to burn fat very efficiently by putting your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.3 This metabolic state can supply energy to your brain, and reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, among other health benefits. This particular diet works well for biohacking, as it allows you to adjust your food intake to customize to your particular needs.
Nootropics: The other part of biohacking is optimizing brainpower to improve cognitive function, creativity, memory, motivation, and attention. This can be achieved with nootropics, or “smart drugs.” Such compounds work along the brain’s dopaminergic pathways, which are involved with memory and cognition.
Two natural nootropic supplements, Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and ginko biloba, are very popular for neurological biohacking. They provide some of the same benefits as synthetic pharmaceuticals, but without undesirable side effects such as insomnia or agitation. Furthermore, research has shown that both Korean ginseng and ginko biloba can improve cognition and memory in both young and middle-aged adults.4,5
Sleep: Given the increasing speed and globalization of the world around us, getting enough sleep is actually one of the more difficult things for many people to achieve. As many as 70 million American adults suffer from some type of sleep disorder, with insomnia being the most common.6
Many treatments for sleep issues are low tech, such as avoiding caffeine near bedtime, reserving the bedroom for sleeping, and meditating before going to bed. However, recent research has provided some newer, high tech ways to biohack our bodies for better sleep. One example comes from research showing that exposure to blue light, such as from a computer or phone screen, can adversely affect circadian rhythms.7
A personal biohacking guide for patients should include apps that will dim your computer and connected devices (such as your phone or smart TV), or special eye shades that block out blue light.
While the Fountain of Youth is just a legend, the life-extending properties it offers are not. With the use of recent research and cutting-edge technology, you can create a personalized biohacking guide for patients as a path to a stronger, more efficient body and brain.
- Tucker J. Patient weight loss benefits both practices and patients. 2019;8:14-18.
- Arsenis NC, You T, Ogawa EF, et al. Physical activity and telomere length: Impact of aging and potential mechanisms of action. Oncotarget. 2017;8(27):45008-45019.
- Freeman JM, Kossoff EH, Hartman AL. The ketogenic diet: One decade later. Pediatrics. 2007 Mar;119(3):535-543.
- Reay JL, Scholey AB, Kennedy DO. Panax ginseng (G115) improves aspects of working memory performance and subjective ratings of calmness in healthy young adults. Human Psychopharmacology. 2010 Aug;25(6):462-471.
- Kaschel R. Specific memory effects of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 in middle-aged healthy volunteers. Phytomedicine. 2011 Nov 15;18(14):1202-1207.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: National Academies Press: 2006.
- Fonken LK, Aubrecht TG, Meléndez-Fernández OH, et al. Dim light at night disrupts molecular circadian rhythms and increases body weight. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2013;28(4):262-271.